Norwest Fellwalking Club is walking its way to a healthier new year

Members of the Norwest Fellwalking Club B Party  enjoying the spring sunshine in Newlands Valley, Cumbria. Left to right Pam Bootham,  Linda Wildman, Christine Ainscough, Lyn Farrington, Olwen Ross, Linda Buckingham and Sylvia Grieve.
Members of the Norwest Fellwalking Club B Party enjoying the spring sunshine in Newlands Valley, Cumbria. Left to right Pam Bootham, Linda Wildman, Christine Ainscough, Lyn Farrington, Olwen Ross, Linda Buckingham and Sylvia Grieve.

This time of year is all about making resolutions and the notion of getting fit is one that features on many people’s lists.

There is no better way to achieve that resolution than walking on a regular basis and The Norwest Fellwalking Club is hoping to help you on your way.

Members of Norwest Fellwalking Club celebrating Christmas on the way to the Corporation Arms, Longridge

Members of Norwest Fellwalking Club celebrating Christmas on the way to the Corporation Arms, Longridge

The club, founded in 1964, had been organising walking trips to some of the most scenically beautiful areas of the country for more than 50 years.

The Norwest organises coach outings with pick up points in South Ribble and Preston to great walking areas in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Peak District and North Wales on Sundays throughout the year. Members can join a guided party, walk with friends or go solo.

Committee member John Dixon says: “The thing that makes our club different is that members are free go join a guided party, go off with friends or even go it alone so long as they are properly prepared and return to the coach at the appointed time.”

As traffic use increased in the club’s early days some towns and villages between the Lake District and Preston became notorious bottlenecks. Legend has it that the build up at Milnthorpe traffic lights on the A6 was to allow members to alight the coach, have a drink in the Cross Keys Hotel and reboard again as it reached the junction.

The committee has developed varied programmes taking in North Wales, Shropshire, the Peak District as well as closer areas such as the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. Once the coach leaves Preston, members can be starting a walk in the southern Lakes in less than an hour.

Member Pam Boothman says: “After a good walk in the fresh air, I do not feel like driving for an hour or more.

“On a coach I can relax and chat to my friends.

“Also I do not have to worry about parking or leaving my car unattended. Coach outings take the stress out of getting to and from a place.”

The Norwest Fellwalking Club meets this concern by offering two grades of guided walks co-ordinated by Alec Wrennall.

He says: “After the coach sets out I send out a sheet describing each of the led walks. A party walks are longer and involve more slopes. B party walks are designed to be gentle and may even involve a visit to a tea room or wayside inn,”

Members can sign up for one of these or write details of their intended route on another sheet if they decide to walk on their own.

The Norwest is more than just walking – it is about friendship and companionship.

Over the years Christmas has become an occasion when the members come together for a joint walk and then celebrate the season at the Corporation Arms in Longridge.

More recently club holidays have been organised abroad to the Alps.

Club secretary David Johnstone who has been in post for 51 years, sees these trips as an important part of bringing members closer together.

He says: “We started going abroad in 2013 with a week in La Villa, Northern Italy.

“That holiday was so successful we have been doing them ever since.”

The Norwest Fellwalking Club has a long history but it also has its eyes firmly fixed on the future.

Chairman Bob Clare concludes: “We are a friendly club with welcoming members.

“If there are any readers out there who want to find out about the benefits of walking, come and try it.”

Membership fee is £10 per year and an additional £10 is required per trip

The next outing is Sunday January 7: Grange to Cartmel.

The coach leaves Sumner Street, Leyland, at 8am with convenient pick up points Farington, Bamber Bridge, Lostock Hall, Penwortham, Ashton and Fulwood. Final pick up the Black Bull, Fulwood at 8.50am.

n For more information visit www.Norwestfellwalking.org.